For whatever reason, the Lifetime Listening List Meme (which I first invoked here) has been making the rounds again, and I -– slave to stupid social media that I am -– have been weighing back in periodically to submit my list. But, of course, my list ended at 2009. As such, I’ve been needled by certain parties to bring it up to date.
To be honest, some selections back on the old list were hard to fill out, as there would be so many pivotal contenders for each year that pinpointing a single title to sum up a whole year was a harrowing “Sophie’s Choice.” In many instances for this bunch, however, I was scrambling to find an album I genuinely got that fired up about. For example, as much as I do genuinely dig Crack the Skye by Mastodon, its impact on my life is in no way comparable to the impact, say, Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk was for me in 1988 or Q: Are We Not Men? by Devo was in 1978. That may be symptomatic of my advancing age and the ensuing deficit in time I’m allowed to devote to enjoying music. Conversely, it might be a statement about how music is no longer the dominant cultural force it arguably once was. Or, simply, it could be that 2009 just wasn’t all that great a year for tunes.
But also, as I’ve laboriously beaten into the ground like the carcass of a long-deceased horse, the manner in which music is disseminated, experienced, digested and consumed has changed so much that I wonder if “albums” are still capable of making those life-changing impacts. By and large, to the streaming majority, the whole concept of albums as complete works with beginnings, middles and ends probably seems like a quaint anachronism. Music-listening has become a piecemeal affair. To use an iffy culinary analogy, albums are no longer sumptuous, multi-course banquets but rather free buffets of hors d’oevres to be blithely picked at, picked apart and taken for granted.
In any case, here's the update....
2009 -Crack the Skye by Mastodon
2010 - Absolute Dissent by Killing Joke
2011 - He Gets Me High by the Dum Dum Girls (“Not a full album” you say? “Fuck you!” I say)
2012 - The Seer by SWANS
2013 - Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend
2014 – Eagulls by Eagulls
2015 - Pylon by Killing Joke
2016 - Post-Pop Depression by Iggy Pop …. very narrowly beating out Before the Dawn by Kate Bush
2017 - …. ?
The year is not over yet, so I’ll hold off.